Thinkprogress on a timeless question:
For whatever reason, conservatives can’t get over their fascination with race and IQ.
The answer seems clear enough to me. Conservatism essentially concerns itself with the argument that people who have things (money, power, social status etc.) should keep them. Insofar as that counts as an argument rather than a shameful animal impulse of the Hobbesian sort, it necessarily implies that people who scrape the algae from rocks for sustenance should keep on sucking on rocks forever. Conservatives need the IQ argument for the same reason that abortion fanatics cannot stop saying stupid things about rape – most people prefer sounding stupid to sounding evil.
Would you force a raped woman to keep the baby? Even nuts who think ‘yes’ know well enough not to say it, so they keep hunting around for some too-clever logical detour. Choking on your own foot is better than admitting than admitting you are the kind of monster who would pile insult upon injury like that.
Similarly, keeping the
hibernians slavics catholics coloreds hispanics in their place only makes sense if they deserve their underclass status for some cooked-in reason like heredity. If we all have the same basic capacity to succeed then pissing on ‘them’ as a class might seem cruel and arbitrarily racialist by our modern, sensitive, standards.
An American will accept living in a cardboard box roasting a sparrow on a metal hangar as long as he knows his neighbour doesn’t have a sparrow. This is why we can’t have nice things.
By George, I think you’re getting somewhere.
YES, conservatives are obsessed with defending their advantages. YES, those with a lot of blessings are easily able to find lots of reasons why they deserve them and those without deserve to be without. You’ve gotten this far…
…now go all the way: they obsess about this because this is Something We All Know(tm): they aren’t really entitled to all those advantages. We know it, they know it, and they know we know it.
Ultimately, I view all the GOP bluster as evidence of guilty consciences.
@Jim Pharo: Not guilty. Anxious.
Concerned they’ll lose theirs without external buttressing.
The Moar You Know
Nagging feeling of guilt. If your “inferiors” are dumber and less capable than you, you deserve all the good shit that life has to offer and the darkies should be grateful for the food and shelter you’re so generously giving them.
Possibly the central failing of conservatism as a philosophy is its need to somehow prove that life is fair. That they’re rich because they deserve to be rich, that people who are poor deserve to be poor, that everything is working out as it should. Because if life isn’t necessarily fair, and if things might not work themselves out, then their entire worldview is rotten to its core.
But life isn’t fair, it never has been fair, and it never will be fair. Actual adults recognize this.
Yep. Things are as they are because it is how they must be. It’s the nature of things, the immutable will of God. And we can prove it with the science of phrenology, or race and IQ, or natural law, or whatever else is lying around.
Conservatives despise the American dream. Hate it. Can’t stand it. Do not want anybody to ever improve their lot in life.
That’s what it means to be a conservative. It’s pretty much the definition.
I am so smart. S-M-R-T.
This. They want to believe they deserve privileges and superior position merely for their status at birth — for being white or American or Christian. Usually because they have few inherent achievements of their own.
Proclaiming racial IQ superiority must be very appealing to people who know they are stupid.
I wish we could give these neanderthals a one-way time-travel ticket to 70s apartheid South Africa, where they would all be so happy and leave the rest of us the hell alone.
Well, maybe… but how does that explain Senator James “How an IQ can be below zero” Inhofe:
Well, it’s happening, folks. Get ready for Benghazi Summer.
MSNBC is going with “live” coverage to see if Jake Carney will answer “mounting questions” about Benghazi raised by newly-released White House emails.
It’s “complicated” but it raises “questions” about “What Hillary Knew.”
I’ve seen this movie before.
“For whatever reason?” What an odd locution. Its like saying “For whatever reason the guy I hired insists on getting paid for the work he did…” or “For whatever reason my white slave owner is very concerned to decide that I, his illegitimate child with a slave, am not white.” Are there any circumstances under which the right wing fixation on IQ and Race are at all inexplicable?
“guilty consience?” Assumes facts not in evidence.
@Spankyslappybottom: Reruns! — ’tis the season, no? And with the bulk of the summer blockbusters being remakes and retreads of existing franchises . . .
This is unfortunately going to be a bigger and bigger problem as time goes on, because there are definitely research programs out there run by people who don’t wear sheets in the daytime that look for “intelligence” genes (meaning, genes which explain variance in IQ between individuals) and also look for ethnic racial disparities in the distribution of these genes.
I’m not saying that I think there are such disparities in genetically encoded native intelligence between groups, but these kinds of situations—where is lots of room for subtle statistical fallacies to give false results—can lead to work getting published and promulgated as valid.
Likewise they like to gloss over the fact that their culture came to dominate the globe because they turned fireworks into weapons, slaughtered people all around the globe, enslaved others, and pretty much owned the rest of us up until only one or two generations ago.
It all helps paint what they see as the true picture: civilized white men, uncivilized savages, and the terrible burden of trying to run the world when all these ungrateful beings piss on you all the time, refusing to be grateful for your largess.
Shorter TimF: We’re white supremacists and you better not forget it, America, because we intend to ride the “victim” card to one-up Orwell.
No one can explain what the questions are, and there’s no sex. This isn’t going anywhere.
Yeah, there’s always the puzzle of “if non-hispanic whites are so smart, how come so many of them voted for McCain and Romney?”
Except, um, you know, when they’re running as Republican candidate for the Senate. But yeah, other than that, I mean, outside CPAC, and the Republican conventioins, and twitter feeds, and ‘think tanks’, and not including politically oriented megachurches, then, yeah, outside those minor examples.
Conservatives think everyone owes them something and that they’re special just for being born. That’s why they’re all up in arms whenever they have to press one for English on their phone. In my whole life I have one time heard a bilingual person complain about that, and now that I think about it, I’m not even positive that she is bilingual.
Talk to any conservative for a while, and eventually they will blurt out, “But we are not all equal!” They get really agitated sometimes about how liberal policies in some way deny their natural superiority and reward inferiors in some way. The point of obsessing over IQ tests is intended to prove it: liberal policies that may help people are just funneling money to the undeserving and those unable to do anything with that help.
And honestly it is true that we are not all equal. It turns out that in some ways, I am much smarter and harder working than most people. As a result, I have a nice condo, drive a fast German sports car, and can afford fancy clothes and nice vacations. But none of those things are particularly important, and money SHOULDN’T be able to buy things like safer neighborhoods, good health care, or good schools– anything that’s actually important. But for right wingers, their access to these basic amenities of civilization are what they want to make sure that their natural superiority gives them access to that other people should not be able to have.
I wouldn’t necessarily say “conscience,” but I suspect a lot of conservatives know perfectly well that they got a lot of breaks in life thanks to their social class, skin color, and/or gender and they have a lingering, uneasy feeling that they’re going to be exposed as frauds. They want to keep the scam going for as long as they personally benefit from it, but con artists always know they’re one step ahead of their pursuers.
@pamelabrown53: That almost makes sense, but you tripped over your first person plurals. You seem to use ‘we’ first to mean conservatives with whom you identify and then a second time to indicate the vague collective for whom I speak. Is that accurate? I don’t want to dismiss you as a crank until I at least understand what you are trying to say.
Talk to any conservative for a while, and eventually you’ll realize he/she is a terrible asshole.
So do they. But only when they’re talking to their inferiors. “Life’s not fair, peon. Suck it up and stop bitching” and variations thereof are common coming from them. Oddly, though, when it’s about tax rates for CEOs going from their lowest point in eighty years to their previous lowest point in eighty years, then all of a sudden it’s all about “what’s fair.”
@El Cid: Those candidates kept stepping on their tongues because they are wanted anything but to say that we should deny abortions to raped women. Todd Akin said that raped women who get pregnant shouldn’t count as real ‘legitimate’ rape, which means that we should not worry about anyone innocent getting caught up in a blanket ban.
I like this definition of conservatism, incidentally, because it’s something that applies regardless of the political context and the ideology used to justify it. Our 1%ers, the pre-industrial feudal lords, the Party apparatchiks in the communist world – same basic ideology. “I want to keep my privileges.”
Is it really any wonder that the people who cling to notions of their innately superior IQs are the same people that behave as natural serfs to the powerful?
Ted & Hellen
Are African Americans on average able to jump higher and run faster than whites of the same age/body type, etc?
Of course they are. (Although it’s great fun to google this and read through all the studies and answers one finds which try to deny what their own data shows.)
Does that mean whites are INFERIOR to blacks? Hmmm…no.
But if one so much as mentions the quite logical possibility that the same is true for other areas of difference among races, it’s also fun to watch BJ types come unglued.
Intelligence testing was first brought (from France) to the US by the eugenicist Lewis Terman of Stanford. Robert Yerkes of Harvard (who developed tests for the US Army in WW I) was also part of the group most enthused about intelligence testing. ALL of these guys, while inspired by the science of their time, were what we would call racists today – their tests were designed to show that Northern Europeans were superior to Southern Europeans, whites were superior to blacks, etc. IQ measurement in the US started as a racist enterprise. No surprise that it still has that taint.
I think you’re misreading her snarky agreement. But I could be wrong.
A Humble Lurker
@Ted & Hellen:
Still a GOP apologist, I see. I really hope for your sake you’re getting paid for your efforts, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you got rooked into doing this kind of work for free.
Ted & Hellen
@A Humble Lurker:
Who said anything about the GOP, dunce?
And of course you evaded my question…as per usual.
Actually, Cole pays me to post here. Without a few of us trolls, all you bots would do is repeat each other even more than you do now and threads would be 20 comments long max.
BTW, do AA’s jump higher or not? Google it.
@Ted & Hellen: Even if we ignore the whole problem with trying to define race, do they jump higher because there is something inherent in African American-ness that makes them jump higher? Or is it because of what the conditions their ancestors were forced to endure? Are these immutable characteristics of those races or are they subject to change in the future? If you come across a person of dark complexion, do you think it is fair or accurate to draw conclusions about their atheleticism based on their skin tone?
The reason why liberals get so prickly about people pointing out differences in race is that it is usaully not done for scientific purposes, but instead to demonize one particular race or explain why they don’t deserve to be treated equally. It is very analagous to the hearings on Benghazi. Liberals would not object to hearings that would seriously look into what went wrong, where communication broke down and what can be done to improve things in the future. But they are opposed to the hearings that the Republicans have been running because the Republicans are not interested in those things, but are instead interested in using Benghazi as a political weapon.
Also, I googled “do african americans jump higher” and got quite a few inconclusive results filled with people’s speculation. I didn’t find any peer reviewed scientific papers showing that to be true. In fact from google, I learned that there are actually two different questions – “Do AA’s jump higher?” and “Do AA athletes jump higher?”
@MattR: Also, there are times in which the average subgroup tendencies within a population are relevant and times in which they are not. In athletic performance, for example, one can actually evaluate individual performance and select for the highest performers — it’s not necessary to select in advance from a population group.
@Ted & Hellen: speaking as someone who started put as a hated minority in this here comments scrum, I’d take the troll’s side here.
Secondarily, the concept of ‘black’ is silly. There is more genetic diversity in sub-saharan Africa than in the rest of the world combined. It is thus hardly surprising that from that diversity you find outliers such as the very fast, great long sistance runners (in particular one tribe in Kenya and neighboring), the unusually tall, unusually short, the very smart and people who are quite dim. Reality does not fit in a box like the racists would like.
@Ted & Hellen:
And your links are … ?
But I’m sure you just conveniently forgot to include your links to the peer-reviewed studies in PubMed or Science that, like, totally exist, amirite?
Mezz (fpa Michael2)
Thanks for putting it so nice and blunt:
Conservatism is fundamentally reactionary. It is a philosophy that is inherently resistant to change of any kind that upsets the status quo, the power of those that, well, have power. That’s all it is – if one goes back to Burke’s _Reflections on the Revolution in France_ (which *I* take to be the principal fount of conservative Anglo thought), everything else is just smoke-house crap. They’ve got theirs, and you can just go fuck yourself.
Mezz (fpa Michael2)
@SlothropRedux: No, they did NOT start as a racist enterprise. They absolutely quickly became one – e.g. look at the differences between Madison Grant’s screeching xenophobia and Lothrop Stoddard’s more empirically-fudgy xenophobia. One 1916, one 1920s. Stoddard’s at least has a veneer of empirical data. There was a genuine aim – at least in the minds of the professionals – ability of IQ tests (the Binet-Simon scale, the Stanford-Simon, etc.) to at least put a metric on things like that.
Don’t forget what a great improvement that the empirical, quantifiable aspect of the IQ tests were for early psychologists and mental testers. Do you mean to say that Francis Galton’s determination of the mental abilities of Englishmen was more accurate than Terman or Yerkes?? The new tests were empirically improvements. There was legitimate science behind them – at least so they thought.
But the intention at the outset was not to advance some nebulous “racist enterprise” in America. It was used to that end, surely but that’s not why it started.
Also, that’s a pretty weird declaration – that we’d consider these guys racist now, even though they were products of their time. Well, by that logic, Lincoln was a bigot too. Terman, Yerkes, Stoddard, Grant et al belong back then. Don’t try to drag them into the present.
Ted & Hellen
A lot of black people are of greater intelligence than am I, a Germanic Caucasian. A lot are of lower intelligence than am I.
It doesn’t threaten me or make me question my value as a human being to acknowledge this, nor do I think scientific study of such things should be verboten because RACISTS! Fuck racists. To determine our actions and avenues of inquiry as a society based on the views of cretins is ridiculous, and comes from a place of weakness.
If such study determines Blacks overall have a higher IQ, I don’t fear that I’ll be rounded up and put in a camp, nor do I fear the opposite from an opposite result.
This whole rejection of race based IQ studies comes from a position of fear and implies weakness in the Liberal/Progressive worldview. Fuck fear and fuck people who operate with fear as their central driver.
Such as the cretin Menmosyne.
@Ted & Hellen:
So you have no links. Good to know.
@Ted & Hellen: yes, we all applaud the great courage of people who defend their inherited status with psuedoscience.
@Mezz (fpa Michael2): confirmation bias. Any experiment that is (a) not done blind and (b) even a little arbitrary in interpretation tends to lean in the direction that the experimenter expects and wants it to lean. Start looking for that effect and you’ll find it everywhere.
@Ted & Hellen:
The conservative study that was recently in the news not only said Hispanic’s have lower IQ’s at present, but that they were unable to improve themselves and would forever have lower IQ’s and used that as an argument for why we shouldn’t let them become citizens of our country. I just can’t imagine why anyone with a Liberal/Progressive worldview would find that abhorrent.
Not mention the fact that most of the race-based studies do not bother to also gather DNA from the subjects so they can determine their actual genetic makeup — it’s more like, who looks black and who looks white to the researchers?
Genetic studies are really making a hash of a lot of race-based theories. It turns out that the aboriginal people of Australia left Africa long before the European migration happened and are actually more distantly descended from modern-day Africans than Europeans or Asians. But, y’know, they look black, so it was always assumed they were more closely related.
Historian Henry Louis Gates Jr. discovered that his DNA is more than 50 percent European even though he’s African-American. So if you decide to measure how high he can jump, do you put him in the black category or the white category?
@Mnemosyne: Details. Minor details. :)
Mezz (fpa Michael2)
I don’t know if anyone could ever say it better:
This is a beautiful summary, Tim. I love it. Taut and polished. I’m very glad you stayed around.
@Tyro: None of the examples you cite are evidence that we are not all, at our core, equal.
Ted & Hellen
This gave me tingles.